HMCTS & PA Consulting: Partnering to Make Better Decisions and Reduce Risk

11 May 2023

by Ardoq

His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) administers the court and tribunal system in England and Wales. Established in 2011, HMCTS has around 17,000 employees located across England and Wales. The organization is currently undergoing a 1.3 billion GBP reform program to modernize and upgrade the justice system and make it even better for everyone using it. It's the most extensive transformation project of its kind in the world.

4 Steps for Successful Enterprise Management

Step 1: Finding the Right Partner - PA Consulting to Advocate for a Mature Architecture

Since 2017, HMCTS has partnered with management consultancy firm PA Consulting. Their original objective was to help mature HMCTS's architecture to reduce risk and streamline internal processes. However, the deeper into this project the team got, the more it became apparent that formal enterprise management tooling was needed. Jay Bangle, HMCTS's CTO (Chief Technology Officer), already had a vision for what he wanted:

"Flexibility was essential for us. I've worked with tools in the past, where the agility just wasn't there. We didn't have time to wait for the service to be brought down so that changes could be made. From experience, that could sometimes take weeks, which was time we just didn't have." - Jay Bangle, CTO at HMCTS

PA Consulting scanned the market for relevant Enterprise Architecture (EA) tools and landed on Ardoq as the best fit for HMCTS. As the project team reviewed the list of HMCTS’s needs, they realized Ardoq offered something different from the more traditional tools. 

As Tim Garrood, Lead Data Architect at PA Consulting, explains:

“There was lots of useful data, but it had a single momentary value. With Ardoq, it’s possible to create a single source of truth that connects all of this diverse data in one place - which is very powerful."

"Our HMCTS project team now has a mantra: If you're doing a piece of work that's not expressed in Ardoq, then it's a question of 1) am I doing the right thing? or 2) have we missed something?" - Tim Garrood

Step 2: Making Data Accessible and Manageable for the Organization

Data accessible to everyone across the organization was another priority for Jay. Rather than growing his team to keep up with the enterprise's demands, he envisaged colleagues taking ownership of their data. Crucially, the process needed to be simple and not add time or stress for colleagues. The potential for democratization and data sharing, and the ensuing transparency that this could create, using the Surveys feature in Ardoq, was ultimately the deciding factor in HMCTS's purchase of Ardoq.

"The Surveys feature is probably the most critical way that HMCTS has used Ardoq. You can have a beautifully modeled world, but it's useless if the data isn't up to date. Surveys keeps the data fresh and connected to everything else across the business, preventing it from being manually managed and isolated", says Tim Garrood.

Step 3: Rebranding Enterprise Architecture to Enterprise Management to Alter Perceptions

While Enterprise Architecture's value becomes more apparent as large organizations change, the term can be self-limiting. To get around this, Jay and his team instead refer to Ardoq as a tool for ‘Enterprise Management’. Highlighting value via concrete outcomes helped get buy-in and shows Enterprise Management's importance. Demonstrating risk is one such example.

Step 4: Demonstrating Value: A Case of Risk Management

Presenting risk in Ardoq has highlighted how an Enterprise Management platform can help. However, risks never exist in isolation. Usually, the team would write down a risk in a spreadsheet along with a narrative describing every eventuality of what might happen if this risk came to pass. The process could become convoluted as the connections between this risk and predicted outcomes were hard to visualize.

HMCTS has worked to build the right dashboards to help visualize the ramifications of this risk and demonstrate how an entire part of the business might stop working, should that risk actually happen. HMCTS can now show how a project or system might be impacted and the downstream implications. Using Ardoq as a risk management tool helps the business and leadership of HMCTS recognize its importance. 

Shaking hands to agree partnership for driving enterprise management

"There aren't really other tools like this; they're generally very HR or operationally focused. Reducing our huge dependency on isolated data is critical to the successful running of any enterprise, especially when going through a large transformation."

-  Jay Bangle.

Data from Ardoq is also used with senior stakeholders to help communicate HMCTS's strategy, such as priorities and objectives, and how those tie into broader UK government priorities. The data here can help make a case for different priorities, with the analysis offered via Ardoq's Dashboards and Presentations used to back up arguments HMCTS might have for putting forward a position or countering a different view.

Quick Time to Value: From the Basics to HR

HMCTS has built an impressive amount of data in just 12 months. Two admins manage the data, collecting and maintaining information from over 1000 stakeholders. HMCTS can then actively use this information across the organization. Today, with the power of this data, it takes seconds for the core Ardoq users to produce and share meaningful insights with the help of presentations.

Now, Ardoq manages all of HMCTS's HR, strategic planning, and commercial activity. Commercial activity includes future commercial demand and the connection this demand has to everything else within the organization. With Ardoq, these no longer exist in isolation but are connected to show how each relationship impacts the business, meaning better decision-making and swifter internal processes. As Jay explains, product roadmaps are a key example.

"Now, I can look at our product roadmaps and instantly decide about the validity of that roadmap. Before, I would have had to be briefed on the situation and talk to a few different people, who would then need to find out the information before briefing it back to that I could make a decision. All of that takes up valuable time that we just don't have. Now, I have this information right at my fingertips." - Jay Bangle

Looking Ahead: Data Architecture and Building a Digital Twin of the Organization

Building on the enormous amount that PA Consulting and HMCTS have achieved, it's natural to wonder what might come next.

Beyond Traditional EA: Data Architecture

The work between HMCTS and PA Consulting has shown that the functionality of a platform like Ardoq has untapped potential. One use case that PA Consulting would like to explore in the future is the context of data architecture. Data architecture and how it ties into HMCTS's digital and business context is clear. However, while Ardoq isn't pitched as a deep-dive data modeling tool, Tim sees potential for exploring this capability with the platform in the future.

DTO to Boost Confidence in Strategic Planning

HMCTS has the ambition to build a full-scale DTO (digital twin of the organization). A DTO will help forge the missing link between HMCTS's strategic work and their Dev Team's work. Currently, the organization creates roadmaps six months in advance. While these roadmaps are approved, they aren't directly connected to the Dev Team's work. Currently, the EA team must manually validate each piece of the Dev Team's outputs to ensure that it's aligning back to the original strategic intent, meaning the team's ability to assure and govern isn't as strong as it could be. A DTO would provide HMCTS with a full 360° view, helping to assure the organization that the right work is happening at the right time. [3] 

A DTO would connect HMCTS's strategic initiatives to the epics (pieces of work) happening within the Dev Teams and show a correlation between the two. This has enormous potential, as Jay explains: "If an epic was created in JIRA, for example, and the Dev Team decided it wanted to do something new, but this was then orphaned from the strategic plan, we could quickly determine between either 1) this piece of work shouldn't be happening, or 2) our strategy is wrong."

This approach has scope to deliver value to other organizations, as Tim outlines:

"We've seen that tools like Ardoq can support businesses with various problems. For example, the planning and strategy linkage is exciting. Strategy is often something that gets written, approved, and never looked at again. I think this case, with HMCTS and Ardoq, shows that people can demonstrate where their work is relevant and how it's delivering on a business's priorities. I think that's very powerful."

Efficient Enterprise Management, Thanks to a Fruitful Partnership

The days of multiple spreadsheets, increased risk, and slow decisions are over for HMCTS. The teamwork between HMCTS and PA Consulting highlights how applying new Enterprise Architecture, or in this case, Enterprise Management approaches, ultimately empowers large enterprises to work more effectively. The era of Jay and his team would have previously spent chasing down spreadsheets and cleaning data is also over. Instead, they can now focus on the bigger picture: ensuring better justice for all.

Things can continuously improve, though, as Jay explains: "We can always be more efficient. I try to explain to people that, while we're spending energy on applying digital transformation to our external business processes, why don't we try and implement them internally? Corporate management is complex, but the tools that Ardoq provides show that we can approach our internal operations differently. We can reduce costs, spot opportunities, and spot risk - all without thousands of spreadsheets flying around."

Tim concludes: "This project has exceeded our usual mission of helping clients build their architecture capability and maturity and become more about true Enterprise Management. The work has led to a different way of thinking about data. We could apply these approaches in many scenarios and help clients succeed in their architecture delivery across different sectors."

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